German arms firm Rheinmetall said Monday it would soon open a maintenance center in Romania for military equipment used in Ukraine's battle against Russian forces.

The company said the "service hub" near Satu Mare in northern Romania, close to the border with Ukraine and Hungary, was set to become operational before the end of April.

The maintenance center will "play a central role in maintaining the operational readiness of Western combat systems in use in Ukraine and in ensuring their logistical support", Rheinmetall said in a statement.

Leopard 2 battle tanks, which Germany recently shipped to Ukraine, as well as self-propelled howitzers, Marder infantry fighting vehicles, Fuchs armored transport vehicles and military trucks could all be serviced at the new hub.

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It could also service NATO combat vehicles, Rheinmetall added, saying this would give NATO's eastern flank "shorter reaction times".

"It is a central concern for us at Rheinmetall to give the NATO forces as well as Ukraine the best possible support in this critical situation," Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger said.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, on a one-day visit in Bucharest, welcomed Rheinmetall's announcement, describing Romania's and Germany's cooperation to support Ukraine as "very, very intensive".

"We are always looking at how we can advance our common concerns as Europeans and as NATO allies," he told reporters, adding it was "necessary" that equipment is repaired near Ukraine's border.

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Rheinmetall, in partnership with German arms maker Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), inaugurated a similar maintenance center in Lithuania last June to provide logistical support for combat vehicles for the Lithuanian armed forces and other NATO troops stationed in the Baltic states.

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